iPhone 7 Features: Rumor Versus Reality Revealed At Apple’s Keynote
The iPhone 7 features announced by Apple yesterday faced a lot of hype and rumor. The tech giant officially showcased the iPhone 7, along with other Apple products, at its two-hour long keynote address in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. The year leading up to the event seemed to be filled with more leaks about the new phone than seen in previous years. This fact is even joked about between Tim Cook and his “Uber driver” (James Corden) in the introduction to the address.
Apple’s iPhone reveal events are always eagerly anticipated. While this one was no different, the anticipation seemed to be more geared toward finding out if the rumored features were true rather than excitement over the features themselves. Tweets leading up to the event set a tone of confirmation rather than revelation.
I've heard rumors that the #iPhone7 will not have a headphone jack!? Is it true??? 😧
— Elon Musj (@DatGamerWolf) September 4, 2016
#iPhone7 rumors are in for the week. Will it have a dual lens? https://t.co/hLBq0gATzr pic.twitter.com/pT2djHAh4Z
— Maya Parts (@MayaParts) August 9, 2016
People and the media seemed more interested in whether the rumors and leaks were accurate rather than in things like availability, price point, and when they could place their orders.
So, were the rumors true? How right were the media and analysts in predicting the features of the iPhone 7?
With so many allegations before any official word, it is somewhat hard to know where to start, but three rumors stirred up more buzz than the rest. Water resistance, the elimination of the headphone jack, and the dual-lens camera seemed to be on the top of everybody’s talking points when it came to iPhone 7 rumors. So how did those pan out?
Water resistance is one feature where iPhones have never fared well. While they were never touted to be water-resistant, neither have other smartphones, and yet Apple’s competitors have always seemed to do a bit better in this category. Merely taking a photo of a glass of water is risky with an iPhone. Okay, that is hyperbole, but it is true that iPhones typically cannot withstand even the briefest dip while competitors have survived multiple dunkings. Part of this is due to not being able to partially disassemble the phone and remove things such as the battery to allow them to dry fully.
Rumor: The iPhone 7 will be waterproof.
Waterproofing rumors began back in November 2015, when BGR reported that TrendForce analysts confidently predicted that the iPhone 7 would be waterproof. However, several months later Forbes stated that Mac Otakara, a credible blog for technology leaks, claimed the rumors of a waterproof iPhone were not true.
Reality: Apple confirmed yesterday that the iPhone 7 would be IP67 compliant.
What does IP67 compliant mean? The IP stands for “Ingress Protection” and the numbers represent the levels of protection. Six means the device is “totally protected against dust.” Seven means it is “protected against the effect of immersion between 15cm and 1m,” according to Aceeca, a company that sells mobile devices.
One meter is just over 3 feet, so do not drop your phone in the deep end. However, IP67 compliance makes Apple’s new phone just as water resistant as its leading competitor, the Galaxy Note 7. So this feature is a significant selling point.
Waterproofing has proven difficult for Apple. SixColors and others pointed out that the headphone jack is the biggest opening on the iPhone and thus a part of the reason that waterproofing it is so difficult. The elimination of the port would go far in paving the way for a water-tight device. However, SixColors is also quick to point out that the Galaxy S7 has a jack and it had no problems getting the IP67 stamp of approval.
This fact leads directly to the second and probably the most contentious rumor.
The 3.5mm headphone jack has been a standard feature on phones and other devices for years. It was even incorporated decades ago in transistor radios. It is to audio devices as air conditioning is to vehicles — standard.
3 Reasons to Love (and Hate) That the iPhone 7 Doesn't Have a Headphone Jack @tpopomaronis https://t.co/Lvpmkpch1A pic.twitter.com/apzsiGvnQT
— Inc. (@Inc) September 8, 2016
Rumor: The iPhone 7 will no longer have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
When rumors surfaced that Apple would do away with the iPhone’s headphone jack, many people were not enthusiastic about the change.
No headphone jack on the iPhone 7 as rumor predict is almost getting me worried… 😟😟😟 I can't use Bluetooth headphones 😐😐
— Bobby✍🏽🇬🇭🇨🇦🇨🇳 (@bobbywrites) August 27, 2016
Rumor has it IPhone 7 won't have a headphone jack? What am I missing here?
— Chicago (@ChiTownSports) August 30, 2016
This release of this Bluetooth adapter may have just confirmed a horrible iPhone 7 rumor https://t.co/mHaY2jRAdd
— Tim Marland (@TimMarland) August 31, 2016
Headphones can be expensive. Some of the highest quality sets run into the hundreds of dollars. So it is not surprising that many were upset about the rumored nixxing of the feature. To have the only way to connect their expensive audio investment to the phone taken away was a game changer. However, Apple has a long history of changing the playing field.
Reality: The iPhone 7 will not have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
In place of the port will be a second speaker. So in addition to allowing the iPhone 7 to be IP67 water-resistant (if that was really anything more than an excuse), the device will now have stereo sound without headphones connected. It is worth mentioning that having stereo speakers on a smartphone is little consolation. They will still sound tinny since they will be unable to produce enough bass because of their size. So this can hardly be considered a feature of the iPhone 7.
Regardless, headphones will now connect through the Lightning port or Bluetooth. However, third-party companies are already producing 3.5mm adaptors for those who do not want to invest in a new set of cans.
The iPhone camera has seen improvements with every iteration, so it is no surprise that rumors about the photo-taking capabilities of the device would surface.
iPhone 7: dual-lens camera leak suggests 3D scanning capabilities. https://t.co/ofvV1KkJp3 pic.twitter.com/6WlJ5ARvZC pic.twitter.com/OqYpNdstv9
— Newsweek UK (@NewsweekUK) March 17, 2016
Rumor: The iPhone 7 will feature a dual-lens camera.
Buzz regarding a dual-lens camera for the iPhone surfaced long before any other leaks. In fact, according to AppleInsider, the new camera technology was supposedly destined for the iPhone 6S. This rumor had its origins in Apple’s acquisition of the Israeli company LinX back in April 2015.
BusinessWire reported that LinX had been developing dual-lens technology for quite some time and had unveiled its first “miniature multi-aperture cameras designed for mobile devices” in June 2014.
It made logical sense that since Apple purchased the company, it would use the technology in its next iPhone, which was the 6S. However, when the 6S was announced, and there was no dual-lens camera, the rumors shifted to the iPhone 7. However, the consensus was that the company would include this feature exclusively on a rumored premium version the device dubbed the iPhone 7 Pro. When Forbes recently revealed that filings from the Russian patent office showed that Apple had not filed a trademark for the Pro, the rumor shifted again. This time, analysts were saying that the dual-lens camera would be reserved for the iPhone 7 Plus only.
Reality: The iPhone 7 Plus will have a dual-lens camera, the standard 7 will not.
Tim Cook confirmed the allegation that the dual-lens camera would be featured on the Plus. However, he also noted that the company did not ignore the camera on the standard version of the device. The iPhone 7 will have a bigger aperture as well as optical image stabilization. While some of the rumors regarding the dual lens suggested that the camera would have 3D imaging, this turned out to be false.
It appears that all of the most talked about rumors ended up being mostly true.
CNET listed other features revealed at the event.
- a static Home button (the button will not depress; it is touch sensitive only)
- a 7-megapixel front facing camera (compared to a 5 megapixel on the iPhone 6S)
- longer battery life (allegedly up to 12 hours, but we will see)
- a more powerful processor (about 40 percent faster than the current A9)
- more storage (32GB, 128GB, 256GB)
For the most part, the rumors painted a pretty clear picture of what Apple would be offering in its new device. The only question that remains is, how well will the iPhone 7 sell? Many have voiced that the device is not that much of an upgrade. Current iPhone 6 and 6S users may end up taking a pass.
“For me personally … I’d like the iPhone 7 launch over as quickly as possible,” stated Forbes contributor Gordon Kelly in a recent article. “Why? Because it is the radically overhauled iPhone 8 in 2017 which will be the really exciting one.”
Let the iPhone 8 rumors commence!
[Image via Apple]